Cross-channel seaports badly hit under Yellowhammer scenario

The document claimed by the UK government to reflect its reasonable worst-case scenario – Yellowhammer – reveals deep concerns at the potential impact on the flow of traffic through cross-channel seaports.

The six-page base-case scenario confirmed that the UK government expected significant disruption to transport and trade links with mainland Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The government’s assumptions include:

  • that businesses and exporters have a low level of readiness for Brexit, including the imposition of EU customs measures
  • that up to 85% of cargo trucks bound for France at the Channel Straits would not be ready for French customs, leading to tailbacks and delays of around 50% within one day
  • ro/ro freight port performance at the Straits might improve to up to 70% of normal within three months as shippers became more prepared for customs checks.

“In a reasonable worst case scenario, [trucks] could face maximum delays of 1.5 to 2.5 days before being able to cross the border,” the document warned.